Sharing a bed in a relationship is such a staple that few of us think about it. After all, sleep is when you’re at your most vulnerable - you’re unaware and unable to protect yourself. Trusting someone enough to share that space with them is a key component of a relationship, right?
Right - or so the societal norm would have you believe, anyway. In fact, if a couple is reported to be sleeping in separate bedrooms or separate beds, it’s immediately assumed that there’s a problem in their marriage. It’s reinforced over and over again, so when it comes to your own arrangements, you dutifully share a bed with your partner and don’t think anything more about it.
Of course, there are benefits to sharing a bed - and it does have a sense of intimacy that few other behaviors can compare to. However…
Is It Necessary?
No. It’s perfectly possible to have a functioning marriage, a healthy relationship, and not choose to share a bed. Thousands of couples attest to this.
On the flip side, maybe it’s time to be asking if sharing a bed could actually be harmful to your relationship. And the simple answer to that one is “yes”. Here’s why.
1. It’s Trickier To Get To Sleep When Sharing Space
Most of us tend to need our space when we’re trying to sleep. For one thing, it helps us to regulate our body temperature - few of us are able to drift off if we’re too hot, for example. In fact, keeping a room cool is frequently cited as a must for a decent sleep regime - but then we go and lie next to a 98.6F body, completely canceling out any benefits of the window you just open.
There’s also a spatial problem. Most of us, given free space, will stretch out when we sleep. It’s hard to find the best position for great sleep when we have to take into account that our partner is trying to do the exact same thing. This can mean you’re irritable with one another, and if one of you sleeps badly, you can be fairly sure the other is going to cop some of the flak for it.
2. You’re Always Together
The saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” might not have been conceived due to this issue, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Sleep is a time of rest, rejuvenation… and being unconscious. So why do we insist on sharing it with another person? All we’re doing is annoying one another or making life difficult.
If you kiss goodnight and then head to separate bedrooms - or even into separate beds in the same room - then it’s still intimate and sweet, but you then get a bit of privacy. As a result, you’ll sleep better, and be genuinely happy to see one another every morning.
3. It Can Make Arguments Worse
If you have an argument with your significant other during the day, going to the same bed at night can be frosty and uncomfortable. Or, worse yet, one of you opts to sleep in another bedroom - thus making the separation feel all the worse, as it’s different from your routine. It can elongate sulks or mean you just start bickering over the issue while you’re in bed, too.
If you always have separate routines, it doesn’t force the idea you have to make up before you’re good and ready. That means any reconciliation is totally natural, and any apologies proffered are genuinely meant.